Academics awarded prize for paper on history of Docklands regeneration

Monday, 01 August 2016

Docklands planning image

Two Oxford Brookes academics have been awarded a prize for a research paper which explores the history of the regeneration of the East London docklands and the setting up of the London Docklands Development Corporation.

Dr Sue Brownill from the School of the Built Environment and Prof Glen O'Hara from the Department of History, Philosophy and Religion at Oxford Brookes University, have been awarded the 2016 Biennial Planning Perspectives Paper Prize for their paper From Planning to Opportunism; Re-examining the Creation of the London Docklands Development Corporation.

The Biennial Planning Perspectives Prize is funded by Taylor & Francis and awarded to the best planning history article published in the previous two volumes of the journal. 

In awarding the prize the judges commented: “This paper represents both methodologically and conceptually a very important work, challenging ideological and political clichés and investigating with historical tools (archival research) very recent developments, something quite uncommon.[it offers] a new and deep insight into a key moment in the history of planning that goes beyond simple discourses and analyses the complex articulation between actors, pushing on the frontline the issue of contingence in planning history. 

“The authors have used careful historical skills and newly accessible archive resources to re-interrogate narratives of important and iconic events that constituted an urban change of truly world significance but which have grown bardic with years of telling by different ideological camps.

“Brownill brings an unrivalled knowledge of the community, political, professional and developer networks that came together in London Docklands built up over many decades of research including innumerable interviews with key actors going back to the earliest days of the initiative. O'Hara brings an extensive understanding of the economic and social policies of the post-war British state and a deep understanding of Britain's changing long term relationship to the sea.

“This is an article that will, whatever we decide, be very widely read and cited, showcasing the journal for those many who are outside the planning history community.”

The article came out of joint research funded by the University's Central Research Fund.

The prize was awarded at the 17th Biennial International Planning History Society conference held in Delft on 26 July 2016. The paper can be downloaded and read on Taylor & Francis Online.